Sharp increase in spam texts

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Spam calls have caused us issues for decades. But now, spam texts are taking over.

Between 2021 and 2022, spam texts have risen nearly 60%. Now, WINK News is showing you how to spot them and how to keep yourself safe.

From romance scams to fake amazon updates to phony bank messages, many of us are not new to the false messages that have been going around.

Now, a  fake police department t-shirt scam is going around in Southwest Florida. The Cape Coral Police Department posted screenshots of these messages on social media to warn the community that Cape PD does not sell t-shirts.

According to a report from spam-blocking app RoboKiller, spam texts rose 58% in 2021 from the previous year. Alan Crowetz is the CEO of InfoStream Inc. and is a cyber expert. “It costs them nothing to send out millions of those. If even 100th of 1% of people fall for the scam, they’re making lots and lots of money,” said Crowetz.

Spam texts often come out of the blue and include a link. Crowetz said that’s because it is very easy to copy a website link.

“They often will put a link in there. Sometimes it looks legitimate, sometimes less legitimate,” Crowetz said. “But in either case, the trick is not to follow the link in the email, go directly to that source, and directly check with them or in worst case, pick up the phone and give them a call.”

So what happens if you respond to spam texts or you accidentally open a link? “Generally, not the end of the world. The ones to watch out for that you’ll see is anything that involves cash, Bitcoin, or gift cards. When that money is gone, it’s gone,” said Corwetz.

In terms of spam texts, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that these types of texts aren’t going away anytime soon. The good news is that you can take steps and make sure that you receive. For example, you can block the sender or turn on filtering on your device.

“The best filter there is by far is the person watching this story. You are the main filter, your brain, and your paranoia,” said Crowetz.

And your best bet, if you continue to receive smishing messages, is to ignore them.

“These bad guys are not fools. They’re very, very smart in most cases. So, whatever the latest technology is, the latest angle, if they find something that works, they’re going to use a lot of that. And right now, text messaging is another hot one to try to take advantage of people,” said Crowetz.

Crowetz told WINK News that engaging with a text can make you vulnerable. So, if you do speak on the phone with a scammer or provide any personal information, be sure to call your bank and credit card provider company to let them know what happened.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.